Scrap Busting Pouf

In September New Craft House ran an Instagram challenge called Sew Yourself Sustainable and I joined in with some of the days (I’m terrible at joining in for a whole month for these kinds of challenges) and I pledged that I would make a Pouf out of some scraps and I actually did it! ZOMG!

These are the fabrics I used, piled on top of one of 2 bin bags full of scraps I’d been hoarding for ages! The blue and gold check was from this skirt refashion into a top which I never really wore because I shrank it in the wash (much sad). The gold denim was leftover from my first mustard cleo, the navy twill was left over from this skirt I made years and years ago, and the blue and black fabric on the right is from my coat.

The pattern is this free one from Closet Case Patterns. I cut out all my top pieces, and the side pieces – there wasn’t quite enough of some of the fabrics to make the sides completely match with the top, but both top and sides follow a pattern rather than being random. As instructed in the pattern, I overlocked all the edges of the pieces before I started sewing them together.

I failed to really take any more progress pictures, but I left off the optional piping and the bottom is completely made of the navy twill as I had the most of that left. I also put a zip from my stash in the bottom so I could stuff the pouf and then zip it closed. I didn’t (yet) make the bag for inside the pouf to hold all the scraps as I wasn’t sure I would need it to be washable, and so far it’s okay, but I could always make a bag some time in the future.

Yay! It has made a real difference to mine and my partner’s comfort while sitting on our sofa – as you can see our tv snug is quite small and we only have a 2 seater sofa so there’s not really anywhere to stretch out……until now!

Be warned, by the way (as I think Closet Case have mentioned) this takes A LOT of scraps to fill up. I had 2 full bin bags full of various scraps and I used all of them! And I think it could even hold more, as the scraps have settled and compressed a little.

These photos weren’t staged at all! 😆

I do love this and it really took an afternoon to cut out (and decide which fabrics were going where) and to sew it! I would definitely recommend doing this if you’ve got tonnes of scraps lying around. I feel like this could also double as a spare seat (almost) if we ever have more than the 2 of us watching tv!

I’m so pleased the New Craft House challenge finally prompted me to make this project – I always put of things like this and I don’t know why. They’re always much quicker than I think and the pay off is totally worth it!

 

Make It: Pin Pennant

After I was lucky enough to win a voucher for The Pink Coat club in the raffle at the Sewcialite Soiree, I realised I had quite a few pins in my collection. But I often forget to wear one as I had been keeping them in a little box next to my make-up bag. Since I know how to sew (duh!) I thought I could easily make something that would look nice, display all my lovely pins and remind me to wear them!

I started off with some of my beloved mustard denim (originally from Sew Me Sunshine and featured in such projects as my Cleo Pinafore and my mute bags) and drew a line 20cm long, plus 1cm each side for seam allowance. I then measured the centre of this line and measured 20cm away from this line and joined this point to the 2 sides of the line to make a triangle. I totally made up these measurements and I think if you have more pins than me you will almost certainly want to increase these measurements.

I cut out 2 triangles with the above measurements and stitched them right sides together along the 2 long lines, leaving the top edge unstitched to be able to turn it the right way around. I trimmed the seam allowances, especially at the points, turned it the right way around and top stitched the sewn seams, though I would wait to top-stitch until you’re sewing the top edge shut.

I then made 2 straps, measuring 12cm x 5.5cm. I stitched each one folded in half length ways, then turned them the right way around – this took ages as they ended up so thin!

I then arranged the straps with the seams down the middle of the ‘back’ and top-stitched them. Lastly I placed the straps into the opening at the top, turning in the seam allowance of the top edge of the triangle, and top-stitched the straps in place, stitching the open edge closed at the same time. I would also carry on with the top-stitching around the other 2 sides at this point.

This was such an easy project – it took about an hour from beginning to end. I found an old knitting needle in a local charity shop and tied some wool on to hang up the pennant and VOILA! I’ve got a lovely way of displaying my gorgeous pins!

Do you collect sewing pins? I’ve got more pins than I realised – I thought I would have space to expand into but the pennant is already full!
 

Make It: Mute Bags

If you follow me on Instagram you may have gleaned that in January I restarted playing the trumpet/ cornet and joined a brass band (Cirencester Band in case you’re interested) and a swing band (JJ’s Swing Band). I also invested in a full set of mutes, which I never used when I played at school, but which are really needed in the swing band and are used in quite a few of the brass band pieces. I spent about £150 on 4 mutes (Harmon, Straight, Cup and Practice in case you’re interested) and when I started carrying them around I worried that they would get scratched and dented by bouncing off each other, so I decided to make some little draw-string bags to keep them protected.

Working out the dimensions for the circle at the bottom of the bag and the rectangle for the sides took quite a bit of maths – maths which I hadn’t used since GCSE!   Πr² and all that.

Height Circumference Radius
Practice 18cm 21cm 4.8cm
Harmon 13cm 29cm 6cm
Cup 18cm 36cm 7.1cm
Straight 15cm 29cm 6cm

I added a 1cm seam allowance and then used the circle formulae (c = Πr² and r = (c÷2Π) to figure out the final measurements I needed. In retrospect I should have added more to the height of the side to allow for the drawstring and the bunching of the fabric, so if you use this tutorial, I would all a couple of centimetres to the height of whatever it is you want to put in a bag.

Radius Length of side Height of side
Practice 4.8cm 32.2cm 22cm
Harmon 6cm 39.7cm 17cm
Cup 7.1cm 46.6cm 22cm
Straigh 6cm 39.7cm 19cm

I used several things which were in my stash: leftover mustard denim from one of my cleo dresses, the scribble striped jersey (which I used to make my Marianne Dress and my cropped Inari tee) and some thick mystery fabric my friend gave me after making me a knitting needle case. The letters are made from a tiny bit of navy twill I had lying around.

The first thing I did was to stitch on the letters, using a narrow zig-zag stitch to stop them from fraying. I sewed the letters onto only the denim, so the stitching wouldn’t show on the inside.

The next thing I did was to sew the lining fabric (the stripey jersey) and the padding layers (the turquoise mystery fabric) together for each bag base and side, so I could treat them as one layer when stitching them together.

I then stitched the side rectangles into tubes, right sides together. I did this for the doubled up lining layer and the outer denim layer.

The next thing was to stitch the tube to the base of the bag – I’m not going to lie, this was really fiddley with the denim because it has no stretch at all. I marked the quarter points on the circle and the tube to help distribute the tube evenly around the circle.

At least I knew my maths worked!

I repeated the step with the lining pieces – it was way easier because the jersey obviously has stretch and the turquoise mystery fabric has enough stretch to help ease the 2 pieces together.

I trimmed the seam allowance down on the lining pieces because it was really bulky with the padding layer.

I then put the lining bag inside the outer bag – you don’t need to turn the lining bag the right way around as it is the opposite way around to the outer bag. I folded the 2 layers down by 1cm (the seam allowance I added), sandwiching the seam allowances between the 2 layers so the raw edges are all hidden.

I topstitched the 2 layers together a few millimetres from the top of the bag, and then did another line of stitching at a 1.5cm seam allowance to make a channel for the drawstring, which I bought from my local sewing shop.

I had to unpick just the lining between the 2 layers of stitching to allow me to get the string into the channel – because the side seam has been sewn over twice, I figured it wouldn’t unravel completely.

And here they are! I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out – they do make my mutes a lot more bulky to carry but I’m not constantly afraid of destroying them, especially given that they were fairly expensive.

This is the harmon (or wah-wah) mute, which is used for jazz mostly. It has a plunger in the middle, which you can adjust or remove – if you remove the plunger you get a sound like Miles Davis.

This is my cup mute, which muffles the sound more than the straight mute

The straight mute muffles the sound but it has a pretty sharp sound.

This is my practice mute, which completely deadens the sound, so I can practice without making my neighbours hate me!

Do you play any musical instruments? Will you make these draw-string bags for storing other things?

 

 

Harry Potter Tote Bag

Just a quick one to share the second of 2 successful Christmas presents I made this year (both for my second Christmas with my friends in January). I say ‘successful’ because after making 4 skirts for my sister last Christmas (1, 2, 3, 4) I cut out another Grainline Moss skirt from the leftover red corduroy from the red Delphine skirt but I forgot that last year I sewed it with a reduced seam allowance, so it didn’t fit.

Anyway, back to the successful make…..my friends and I do secret santa each year (though we buy for 2 people and not just one) because one year there were probably around 8 of us (the number changes as partners change and 2 children have been born since the tradition started!) and so all of us buying for everyone else meant a slightly obscene number of presents. Plus we all fly up to Scotland each year now, so anything that reduced the baggage allowance has got to be a good thing! One of the people I drew was the girlfriend of one of the guys in our group, who I had not met yet (though she turned out to be lovely, so that’s good!) so I did what anyone would do in my situation – some facebook stalking!

I discovered that they had been to see a couple of musicals, they’ve travelled quite a bit and then I saw that they had been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and since I had, funnily enough, started re-reading all the books around the time I had to make a present I thought I would make a Harry Potter themed tote bag. Making things for someone you’ve never met is always going to be a bit of a gamble, but I thought a tote bag is always useful even if the design misses the mark.

I’m pretty sure I copied this design from something I saw on Etsy when I was looking for something to buy, before I’d had the thought to make something.

I used my own tutorial, which I wrote quite a long time ago now, for the dimensions of the pieces. I used french seams for strength and used medium weight calico from my local sewing shop. I used a narrow small stitch of zig zag to sew on the glasses and the scar – I looked for some felt in my stash but I didn’t have enough. I could probably have used some jersey, but I came across this cotton first and doubled it so it wouldn’t be see-through.

I reinforced the straps, as I have done with each previous tote I’ve made as I feel like one of the worst things would be for the straps to come off when someone was carrying some heavy shopping home!

This is a pretty quick post, really, as there isn’t much to say about a tote bag!

Have you ever made a present for someone you’ve not yet met? How did it go down? Did you find it as stressful as I did?!

p.s. I’m already on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I only read 2 books the whole of last year, so I’m close to doubling that in January!)

 

 

Review of 2017

As this year approaches its end I (like many other sewists and bloggers) thought it would be fun to look back and see what I achieved sewing-wise.

The main part of my planning for this year had been my #2017MakeNine but I only managed to make 4 of the 9 patterns I had planned to make.

To slightly defend myself (against who?!) I did make 3 of the 4 patterns twice. (For all the makes below, click on the photo to be taken to the full blog post).

I made 2 Marianne Dresses and I love them both – both are from quite light weight jersey so they’re not the best for the cold weather we’ve been having in the UK recently.

I also make 2 Moneta dresses, though I don’t really wear the first one because I stretched out the neckline while making it.

I also make 2 Inari Tees, and I have a dress version cut out ready for next Summer – I didn’t get around to making it last Summer as it didn’t seem to last long enough!

The other make I managed from my Make Nine was my Roberts Collection dungaree dress. I did want to make the dungaree version as well but I didn’t get around to it.

I bought denim to make both pairs of jeans back in April but I didn’t quite get around to making them. I also have 2 fabrics to make the Carolyn Pyjamas from so I think I’ll bump them onto next year’s list too.

I also had joined the #SewMyStyle project and although I knew at the outset that I wasn’t going to make all 12 garments throughout the year, I only managed one – the Toaster Sweater, which I think was the pattern from January (though I’m pretty sure I made it late).

Although I didn’t make loads of the things I had planned at the beginning of the year, I did make quite a few things in the last 12 months.

I made a few presents and non-clothes, including 2 pyjama cases (a monkey and a penguin), a sack for work, a tailor’s ham and sausage (stuffed with fabric scraps), and a moomin embroidery (which helped me realise I actually quite enjoy embroidery).

I managed to refashion 3 garments: a simple tee refashion, my Christmas Party Dress and – the one I’m probably most proud of – I refashioned one of my dad’s suits into a suit for me.

In terms of sewing from scratch, this year I made:

  • 8 dresses
  • 1 pair of trousers and one pair of culottes
  • 2 skirts
  • 8 tops
  • 1 pair of shoes

The shoes were definitely a highlight! And after listening to Jasika’s episode of the Love to Sew Podcast, I feel inspired to make more shoes!

I am also proud of having made trousers for the first time! Shame I didn’t parley this into making more pairs of trousers as they are the thing that is really lacking in my wardrobe now.

These trousers are probably my most worn make of the year, but also getting honorable mentions are my stripey jersey dress which I’ve worn loads considering it was a late-in-the-year make.

I’ve also worn my grey-blue melilot shirt loads this year, so I definitely have more planned.

I feel like I can’t do a round up of the year without mentioning my Dressmakers’ Ball dress – ooh, I’ve just realised I made an extra pair of trousers than I listed above because my dress had trousers underneath! It was definitely one of my favourite makes from the year and it was fun to do some – very basic – drafting to alter the Emery dress to make the copy of the Emma Watson outfit I liked so much.

There were some other things that I mentioned I wanted to do in 2017, like make a quilt, re-upholster a chair and make a wall hanging. I did none of these things. I did, however, complete the Wardrobe Architect project and I do think this helped me to focus my sewing and fabric buying.

Obviously on a personal level, 2017 wasn’t the best – and 2016 sucked too – so here’s hoping 2018 isn’t quite so crap and I have no family sadnesses.

Did you meet your goals in 2017? Are you rolling some of them into 2018 if not? I will – I think some of my #2018MakeNine will be the ones I didn’t make in 2017!